Archive for June 2019

My June 2019 Video Diary   Leave a comment

(Still new at this so I posted both ways to see the video–one will work! LOL
Movie Maker: June 2019 Diary My Life In Fort Lauderdale

Posted June 30, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“The Last Black Man In San Francisco”–movie review   Leave a comment

Definitely not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, I was once again taken in by very positive word of mouth. After being shown at the Sundance festival the Internet lit up with raves. When I came home, after seeing “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”, I went to the metacritics and rottentomatoes web pages to find out what they saw that I didn’t.

“…poignant filmmaking with an invigorating spirit” (Detroit News), “A story that melds realism into make-believe” (Seattle Times), “Lyrical, visually stunning, the poem to loss, lies and making peace with the past” (Washington Post), “It’s the kind you fall into with your whole heart” (Entertainment Weekly)  and “A fresh and original story of two outcasts…” (The Hollywood Reporter). The only words I agree upon from all these are ‘..story of two outcasts.’

The film is based on the true story of Jimmie Fails, who stars as Jimmie, and Jonathan Majors, playing his buddy called Montgomery, who is a writer and Jimmie’s ‘love’ with an old home that he states as fact that his grandfather had built in 1946. One of the problems I had was the ages of Jimmie and Montgomery but without giving any spoilers it didn’t jibe with quite a few points in the story.

There are hints of what could have been but that make-believe prevents the film from going to make it deeper including the friendship between two men that is strong without being homoerotic. There is a Greek chorus of sorts made up of 5 men that are always ‘across the street’ that provides a reason for a factor near the end of the film but only takes up a lot of unnecessary time. This is only one incident that slows up the film but though we meet Jimmie’s father, aside from knowing they don’t have a relationship we don’t get much further than that and even less of the relationship with his mother who he meets, ‘accidentally’ on a bus.

The film really revolves around the two guys and the house but strays too far in many other parts of the script. There are some beautiful shots of San Francisco including Fails and Majors skateboarding together and singularly through the streets of the city but a scene of a white man running and stripping through the streets and another white man, nude, sitting on a bus bench next to Fails may seem to want to show some of the vibes in San Francisco but it is nothing you won’t see in New York, New Orleans, Houston or any other big city. Are they white for a reason? If so I didn’t get it.

Obviously I didn’t get a lot in “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” but except for, maybe, a half hour, I found the movie to be slow and in some episodes, for instance, the play, to be way too much make-believe to take seriously or just a simple question of at their age why are they living in a very cramped place with Montgomery’s blind grandfather, why doesn’t Fails have a phone though he works, now and then, it seems. By the way, Danny Glover plays the grandfather and it feels like his part was drastically cut!

It was a choice of seeing “Yesterday” or “The Last Black Man In San Francisco” and Allen picked the latter so I’ll blame him.  (Mmmmm–should I mention that he slept through most of the first hour?)


Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.


Movie trailer

The Last Black Man in San Francisco | Official Trailer HD | A24


Posted June 28, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Peppers are popping   1 comment

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I think Mother Nature does it just to drive ME crazy!!
About a year or so ago while cleaning a pepper to put in a salad I took the seeds and helter-skelter threw them in a plant pot I had on the window ledge. (Shhhh—it is against the rules here to have anything on the window sills!) The plant itself grew pretty quickly and then eventually had a few blossoms and last, but not least, I had one full pepper to put in a salad again.
Over the last few months there were plenty of blossoms that all died off and then last week I counted about 20 blooms. This past week, up to yesterday, there were 4-5 blossoms turning into peppers–they look like they will all survive and maybe I’ll get a few more.
How can anyone be bored??? There is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered and I plan on finding new things, including seeds becoming peppers indoors!

Posted June 27, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, HOME, LIFE, Uncategorized

“Pavarotti”—movie review—a must see   1 comment

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Walking up the aisle after watching/listening to his last aria you feel as if you really missed out in life not having been a friend of Luciano Pavarotti who made everyone he met feel just that, grabbing you with a smile that engulfed you. Add to that a voice, that either singing or speaking brings you in closer into his world.

Watching him with his own children or, later, the many children whose path he crossed, seeing him mentor singers to be, working with people like Bobo, dedicating a song to Princess Diane sitting in the rain with thousands of others all getting drenched, you will wish you were with him every step of the way.

The film is a straight forward biography of a man dubbed the “King of High C’s” not only in words from him but from his family, friends, co-workers but from people behind the scenes. He may have had enemies but none appear or are referred to here. Yes, he could be a ‘prima donna’ but not to others, only with himself.

Pavarotti was a big man physically, (and there is a funny bit as he describes what a diet is), and exuded warmth and a voice that not only could but did charm each individual member of a 500,000 audience.

In the clips of The Three Tenors tour consisting of Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras with conductor Zubin Mehta you can see that he doesn’t take over the performances but that the men know that he is the best of them all.

I defy all of you to sit through this documentary and not cry as this tenor sings and performs scenes from “La Boheme” and “Tosca” just to mention 2 of the many roles he did on the opera stage. You don’t have to be an opera fan or even know opera to sit back, relax and listen to his voice play with your emotions.

Luciano Pavarotti, above all, was a man, and like most men wasn’t perfect. He would later in life have an affair with a woman half his age and would have a child with her–actually twins with one dying at birth–which would lead to a divorce from his first wife with whom he had 3 children. She had provided the financial life for the family until he became successful and even after the divorce she still held the man in high esteem. The reactions from his daughters as a father are all over the place but there is no doubt they loved him and they have no doubt he returned that love.

Luciano Pavarotti’s main goal in life was to bring opera ‘to the people’ which he did and now in “Pavarotti” he continues to do just that in this Ron Howard’s beautiful, moving documentary.

An aside: I only saw Pavarotti in person once and that it was in 1965 in Miami where he appeared with Joan Sutherland.


 PAVAROTTI is a riveting film that lifts the curtain on the icon who brought opera to the people. Academy Award winner Ron Howard puts audiences front row center for an exploration of The Voice…The Man…The Legend. Luciano Pavarotti gave his life to the music and a voice to the world. This cinematic event features history-making performances and intimate interviews, including never-before-seen footage and cutting-edge Dolby Atmos technology.


Movie trailer

Posted June 25, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Born Gay? Chose to be Gay? Who cares?   1 comment

I lived in New York in June 1969 but I am not one of the millions who claim they were at the Stonewall Bar the night it was raided. In those days I was a bit of a ‘bar snob, going only to the ‘better bars’! My partner and I were at the theater that night and didn’t know about it until we got home and heard it on the news. The next day we walked down to the Village and spoke to the many people hanging around. We would fly back to New York—we were now living in Memphis—for the first Gay Pride Parade. And 50 years later I celebrate the event and where it leads to and will continue to celebrate it every year.


Was I born Gay? Maybe and if I was I would love to thank the relative who passed down the gene. Did I choose to be Gay? I don’t know but if I did it was the smartest choice I ever made.

To celebrate I offer the following with the first C&P from Susan on facebook and the second, also copied from facebook, that offers solace to the many still in the closet, to that young person in the Midwest who thinks they are the only Gay person in the world, to those who have been thrown out of their church and/or those thrown out on the street by their parents or those who have to read on the Internet anti-Gay comments made by people who have Gay children, Gay spouses, Gay relatives, Gay friends, etc., and claim they love them yet hurt them with telling them they are ‘less than’. We will never know the percentage of Gay people in your town, city, State, country, family, friends but know that there are millions of us here for you!
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Posted June 23, 2019 by greatmartin in GAY, LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“Anna”–movie review   1 comment

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“Anna”, unintentionally I hope, is one of the funniest, most illogical, ridiculous, hard to believe films I have ever seen! Just the scene, some of it shown in the preview, where Anna (Sasha Luss) in the restaurant where she kills men, many, many men, with guns, forks, hands, plates, legs, other men and anything else, say the edge of a bar, she can get her hands on! She kills more men in this one scene than any man in any movie. She kills more men than she changes wigs and my, oh my, does she change wigs!
Anna works undercover as a model who bashes a photographer because he wants her to work longer and, oh yes, slits her wrist when first approached to be a spy. It is that kind of movie!
Almost every scene is a time change going from 3 years ago to 3 months later to weeks before and after and everyone is spying on everyone else and, oh yes, Anna is having sex with everyone including a woman called Maud (Lera Abova) who has nothing to do with what is happening in the movie.
Helen Mirren is pure camp as as KGB leader and one of the very few in the movie who doesn’t have a sex scene which makes her more interesting than anyone in the film.
Luke Evans as a KGB agent in charge goes to bed with Anna and Cillian Murphy as a CIA agent goes to bed with Anna but the guys don’t go to bed with each other.
I’ve never seen Sasha Luss before but she is very impressive as a model and killer but has zero chemistry with Abova, Evans and Murphy. She did make me think constantly of Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde” who gave a much better performance and who basically had the same role in a much more interesting picture but didn’t kill as many men but then who could?
I am recommending “Anna” for how unintenionally funny it is and a mindless movie to go see to get out of the heat of summer! Oh, yes, don’t forget that ‘secret’ in the synopsis which she does repeat at least 10 times.

Summary: Beneath Anna Poliatova’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins.


Movie trailer

‘Anna’ Official Trailer (2019) | Sasha Luss, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren


Posted June 21, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

“Come From Away”–touring company review   Leave a comment

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From the first stomp of the foot by a citizen of Gander in Newfoundland introducing the upbeat tempo of “Welcome to the Rock” we learn how a small town of citizens was faced with over 7,000 strangers who are being forced to stay in their town unprepared for how their lives, the citizens and the visitors, would be changed.
Due to the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001 38 planes were diverted from landing in the USA and landed for an unknown amount of time. For the next 100 minutes, we watch this town of citizens extend hospitality in ways they never thought possible starting with the gathering of supplies, necessities, such as food as the travelers are not allowed to leave the planes at first. When they are allowed to deplane there are the problems of dealing with 7,000 strangers in not only finding places for them to sleep but helping them contact relatives. They also discover the horror that caused the passengers being diverted and all of a sudden 9/11 effects each of them.
Mainly through music, we see one couple find each other, another breakup, friendships made, suspicions of others aroused, the journey of one woman to become a pilot for American Airlines that brought her to this place and time, of another woman concerned about the animals aboard the planes, while a Gay man comes out only to be welcomed by many of the citizens who have Gay relatives and a Black man who at first feels unwelcomed only to be embraced by the town.
With 18 cast members, along with 8 musicians on stage, keeping track of who is playing play who gets a little complicated especially when the cast is given a name or two and then has added ‘and others’ to their name. It really doesn’t matter as each presents a distinct character no matter which one they are playing at what time.
The book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein keeps the show going at a fast clip with songs such as the opening number plus “Stop the World” and “Me and the Sky”, but not too fast that they don’t show and tell the many individual stories of the citizens and passengers. The main message of the show brings everyone together, the cast and the audience, people’s humanity to one another under all conditions.
The actors transform from one character to another with a flip of the jacket or a movement that helps differentiate one from another with both the costume designer Toni-Leslie James and director Christopher Ashley keeping everyone going smoothly. The scenic design by Beowulf Boritt along with the lighting design by Howell Binkley keeps the cast on the toes not only with moving chairs to represent different scenes but being under various spotlights all over the stage.

The only problem and one hopes that it is only an opening night one, is the sound system which lets the cast down as far as being decipherable at certain points whether singing or talking.
With such a fine cast it is unfair to point out any one individual and when the musicians take center stage at the curtain call all deserve the standing ovation they get!
“Come From Away” is playing at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami-Dade until June 23 and then will come to the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale April 7-19, 2020.
The show runs 1 hour and 40 minutes without an intermission.

Posted June 19, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

BurgerFi–5th time is NOT a charm!   2 comments

This is the 4th BurgerFi location I have tried so they can’t say I’m not giving them a chance but this was the worse experience and I am just throwing up my hands and saying no more!!

It seemed like ‘fate’ was saying that I should give it one more chance. I go to this shopping center every Thursday for the Dollar Tree and Office Depot and we will usually have lunch at the Quarterdeck or NY Deli but I got a coupon for $5 to try their new ‘Beyond Burger’ and another one for a ‘free’ fries when ordering a drink and burger.

I have been wanting to try the Beyond Burger as I have heard a lot about it so that is what I ordered. I will say it looked like a rare burger which is the way I eat my burgers but that is the only good thing I can say about it! If you put ketchup on it you will get some taste–ketchup. Put onions on it and you will get the taste of onions and nothing else. Normally it is $9.47 (or so I think because trying to find out prices on their web page is a study in itself.) Basically I saved $4.12 with the coupon for the following combination: water, pea protein isolate (whatever that is) canola oil, potato starch, yeast extract, beet juice extract, sodium, etc. No way, no how does it belong in a burger place.

I won’t get into what that ‘free’ fries cost Allen except to say it was ridiculous.

Okay, I admit I don’t like the cold extra thick bun they put their burgers on but this location was one of the loudest I have ever been in starting with a manager that yelling seems to be is his normal tone! And the cook wasn’t much quieter. And I still don’t understand why a restaurant that ‘specializes’ in burgers doesn’t have sliced onions, only chopped.

After 5 trips to 4 different BurgerFi’s that’s it.

Posted June 15, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“Late Nite”–movie review   1 comment

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Sometimes a smart script undoes a movie and to a certain degree that is what happens with the screenplay by Mindy Kaling. All films usually have a backstory or a preface or a setup to explain where the movie is going but in “Late Nite”, a 102-minute movie, you can come in at the 45-minute mark and know exactly where and why it is heading. The problem with that is you would miss an additional 45 minutes or so looking and listening to Emma Thompson.

Having accomplished actors like Emma Thompson and Joth Lithgow isn’t fair to newer actors because, first of all, they have that indefinable ‘it’ that makes you look at them no matter who else is on the screen plus they have the expertise, the experience, to work the camera. There are quite a few professional, long time actors like Denis O’Hare, Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Amy Ryan, just to name a few, in this comedy about a late-night talk show host(ess) who may lose her longtime position because she has become out of touch with her audience and modern digital media.

Katherine Newbury (Thompson) has an all-white male writing staff and deciding, being told, to become more relevant she hires Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) who, with her youth and inexperience as a writer, brings an adversary worthy of her boss. The exchanges between Thompson and Kaling are fast, funny and, when necessary, touching.

Kaling’s script touches on many of today’s issues regarding women in the workforce, the restrictions put on them, men not knowing how to work with women bosses and, in some cases, not respecting the women they work with. It doesn’t get too heavy and the fact that it is a comedy is not forgotten but too many issues are resolved in a Hollywood way and much too quickly.

Nisha Ganatra directs the film at the right beats knowing when to pick up the pace at a bit of slapstick or slowing it down at a serious moment between husband and wife. The soundtrack is great and I say that not remembering if there was any music except for the band when Katherine makes her entrance at the beginning of her show!

“Late Nite” is a pleasing movie with humor, along with serious discussions of today’s women in the world, and Emma Thompson’s exchanges with Mindy Kaling and co-workers, including her boss, not to forget the tender moments with John Lithgow. Hopefully, Thompson will be remembered at award time.


Emma Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, who is a legendary late-night talk show host, whose world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer played by Kaling. Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision has unexpectedly hilarious consequences as two women separated by culture and generation are united by their love of a biting punchline.


Movie trailer

Late Night Trailer #2 (2019) | Movieclips Trailers

Posted June 14, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“Da Bronx”   1 comment

‘Da Bronx’

“You can take the boy out of da Bronx but you can’t take da Bronx out of the man!”

It has been 66 years since I lived in the Bronx and 34 years since I last stepped in my old neighborhood of Pelham Parkway.

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As usual, one evening, I was on the computer and had the TV on tuned to the news which I was sort of listening to when all of a sudden I heard the newscaster refer to Christopher Columbus High School and my mind immediately flashed back to the high school I attended across the parkway 70 years ago. I have a lot of memories from that time, not all good, and I took out my yearbook picture and a smile broke out across my face.

I had heard/read that CCHS in the Bronx was no longer a high school and I quickly went to and found out they were referring to a Christopher Columbus High School in Miami that I didn’t know about! It is a private, Roman Catholic college-preparatory high schoolestablished in 1958. Did some research about MY CCHS and the Miami CCHS but it all puzzled me into making a note about doing more research. I am still puzzled about the remark of Wikipedia saying “It is within walking distance from the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.” Okay I was a fat kid but I do remember taking a bus to the zoo as it was too long a walk from Bogart Avenue and Pelham Parkway!

Somewhere along the lines of “It never rains but it pours” the next day I went to see the Broadway touring company of “A Bronx Tale” which takes place in another part of the Bronx that I wasn’t familiar with being Belmont and Jerome Avenues though it did remind me of my neighborhood as Bogart Avenue was the ‘dividing’ line between the Italian and Jewish neighborhoods.

This has been a week of Da Bronx memories and someday I’ll have to share them with you, well at least the good ones that the kid in this man from Da Bronx remembers!

Posted June 13, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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